Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang and seven other Asian artists achieved new auction records at Sotheby’s (BID) HK$670 million ($86 million) Hong Kong evening sale.
Zhang’s painting titled “Bloodline: Big Family No.3” sold for HK$94.2 million on April 5, breaking his previous record of HK$79 million, according to Artnet.
“It was a great sale,” said Pascal de Sarthe, a Hong Kong-based dealer. “The Chinese art market is very strong and a new Southeast Asian record was set.”
Of the top 10 lots at the sale, nine were purchased by Asians, according to Sotheby’s, suggesting that slowing economic growth in China hasn’t damped regional demand for art. Sotheby’s has realized HK$1.08 billion in sales during the first three days of its spring auctions, which end tomorrow.
Auction proceeds could receive a boost today if a jadeite necklace with a high estimate of HK$100 million sells. The necklace was once owned by American department store heiress Barbara Hutton and is described in the Sotheby’s catalog as “the most important piece of jadeite jewelry known to the world.”
Five bidders vied for several minutes to purchase the 1995 Zhang oil on canvas measuring 179 centimeters (70.5 inches) by 229 centimeters. The iconic three-member family portrait is the only one of his Bloodline series to feature a Little Red Guard wearing a Mao badge, Sotheby’s said.
An auction record for a work by a Southeast Asian artist was set with the sale of a HK$58.4 million painting by Indonesian artist S. Sudjojono (1914-1986), Sotheby’s said.
Titled “Our Soldiers Led Under Prince Diponegoro,” the 1979 oil on canvas measuring one meter by two meters smashed the previous record of HK$36 million set by Indonesian artist Lee Man Fong at Christie’s Hong Kong in November.
Records were achieved by Japanese contemporary artist Yoshitomo Nara (HK$15.7 million), Indonesians Sudjana Kerton (HK$13.2 million) and Ay Tjoe Christine (HK$4.6 million), and Vietnamese modern painter Le Pho (HK$3 million).
Another record could fall on the final day of Sotheby’s five-day spring sales, when a porcelain cup made for the Chenghua emperor (1465-1487) with a high estimate of HK$300 million goes under the hammer.
The cup measures only 8 centimeters in diameter and is nicknamed the “Chicken Cup” for its depiction of a rooster, his hen and their chicks, an allegorical representation of the emperor, the empress and his subjects.
The existing auction record for a Chinese work of art was set in October when Chinese property developer Zheng Huaxing paid HK$236 million for a bronze Buddha at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
The Sotheby’s sales kicked off with two days of wine auctions on April 4-5, where HK$100 million of wine sold. A six-bottle lot of 1990 Romanee-Conti Domaine de la Romanee-Conti fetched HK$1.35 million.
The final day of auctions includes fine Chinese ceramics and works of art, furniture, bronzes and watches, where the top lot is a Patek Philippe platinum wristwatch estimated at between HK$5.2 million and HK$6.2 million.
Beijing-based competitors Poly Auction and China Guardian are holding sales in Hong Kong from April 6-9.
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